Friday 22 November 2019

Richard Dunne: 'Keogh has been hard done by but from a business view, his sacking makes sense'

Derby have terminated the contract of defender Richard Keogh with immediate effect for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing. Photo credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
Derby have terminated the contract of defender Richard Keogh with immediate effect for gross misconduct following a disciplinary hearing. Photo credit: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire.
Richard Dunne

Richard Dunne

Richard Keogh did let himself down with the incident which has led to his sacking by Derby County.

But the club has been too harsh in its treatment of him, dealing with the fallout in two different ways, sacking one player but allowing the other two, who had been driving, carry on playing.

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The sacked player is aged 33 and out injured long-term, the other two are young lads, able to play and have, therefore, got away with it. That says a lot about the game today.

Keogh has been hard done by, if you look at the way the other two players, the ones who were driving, have been treated, then it doesn't seem fair. If Richard hadn't been injured in the crash, then they would all have carried on like normal, so it's unfair that he has been sacked.

It's very harsh on Richard but it's also the risk you take as a player when you step outside the rules of your contract.

I don't know if there would be a specific clause in a player's contract about being in a car with a driver who had been drinking. They do have clauses where you can't go skiing or ride a motorbike in case you get injured that way, non-football matters, but when it comes to being out drinking, the club could have something built into the contract and that's how they have been able to do this to Richard.

The club will feel they should not have to accept responsibility, and the cost, from an injury that was not football-related.

Either way, Richard has paid a very heavy price.

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Richard chose to get into the car that night and now the club have chosen to go down that road of terminating his contract.

As a business decision, Derby giving him the sack makes sense, but the bit that's hard to take is that the two other players have got off scot-free.

In a way, it's hard to blame the club as they have done what is within their rights to do. They have taken the hardest possible sanction and punished Richard. They are legally able to do that.

It's not fair but it's how things have finished there for Richard.

It's not the end of it. I am sure there are insurance or compensation issues from Richard's side. He will feel terrible about all that's happened, but he will also feel sore that he has paid the price for everyone else.

It's tough on him but he has to deal with it. It's not right that the club are sacking someone who is injured, the club has a duty of care to all players, no matter what. It's a sad end to a regrettable and avoidable story.

There is a financial price for Richard in being sacked, it will come as a big shock.

When I retired from playing, that first month when you don't have a wage packet arriving in your bank account, it's a serious surprise.

It's not like your lifestyle changes overnight – you still have a mortgage, you still have all your outgoings – but all of a sudden you have zero income and it will be difficult for Richard to adjust to the situation.

But he'll have to do it, because for the next 18 months or so he won't have a contract, or have any income, and any future contract he gets won't be anything like the level of money he is on now.

The hard thing for Richard to deal with is how he is now seen, how his name has been thrown around.

People on the outside will look at what happened and say it was just typical of footballers doing stupid things.

It's people who do things, not their profession. People from all walks of life do silly things and make mistakes, Richard is not the first person to get into a car with a driver who had been drinking and he won't be the last.

Young footballers with money will always make mistakes, people in the game will be more wary of it now due to what's happened but I'd bet that in six months' time there will be someone else from the game who will be in the limelight for all the wrong reasons.

I don't know what he will do next. He is a strong character and proud of his achievements and he won't want to see a great career end on a sour note. He will train hard to try and get back to where he was.

He is strong-minded and hopefully he can be a good player again for some club somewhere.

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